Posted by: vlibrizzi | March 28, 2010

Polly Gets Political: Three Days in DC

On Wednesday evening, C. and I flew down to DC for an impromptu vacation. C. had to fly down to DC for work and I had to go to the National Writing Project Spring Meeting, so we made a trip out of it and flew down together.

When we arrived on Wednesday night, we checked into our hotel (The Hyatt right off of Capitol Hill),  and then while C. caught up on some emails, I checked into the conference, said some hellos and got some yummy snacks. Then C. and I walked around Capitol Hill a bit (it was a lovely night and I hadn’t visited DC in years), and then made our way over to a wonderful wine bar called Sonoma. The owners have a sister restaurant in Georgetown called Mendocino.

We thought it was quite appropriate to go a restaurant called Sonoma and to sample some Sonoma wines because we’ll be going on a trip to Sonoma and wine country in Oregon in just a few weeks (so be sure to look out for future posts on our April wine trip).

The food at Sonoma was great. They had great cheeses and pizzas on the menu, but I had a delicious ricotta gnocchi in a walnut and apple puree. I highly recommend it! But, best of all, were the wines. I had a pinot noir from Oregon and C. had a white wine from Sonoma. After such a nice meal, we’re looking forward to our April vacation even more!

Then, on Thursday, C. and I parted ways (he to work and me to the conference), and I met with some other NWP people from Boston to lobby our Congressmen and Senators to continue to fund the National Writing Project.

Everyone we met with was so helpful and gracious, and better yet, many of the people we met with said they would continue to support the Writing Project next year, so we felt like our trip down to DC was well worth it. I don’t want to sound trite, but it really was pretty cool to see democracy in action, and to be a part of the system.

It was also so interesting to get to visit the offices of our elected leaders. For example, you can see Senator Scott Brown’s office to the left. He has former Senator Kennedy’s office until the fall, so his current digs are pretty nice. Senator Brown’s staffers invited us out onto his deck which overlooked the Capitol, and had such a great view of some cherry blossom trees. It was a beautiful day!

You can see one of the photos I snapped from Senator Brown’s deck to the left.

After our meetings with the representatives, we had a cocktail party in the US Postal Museum. I don’t know if I would normally go to visit this museum (a museum about the postal system?!?!?), but after seeing it at the cocktai hourl, I have to say, I was definitely impressed. While I was mingling, I had a chance to see some of the exhibits on how the US Postal System has evolved over the years. What a cool and fascinating institution! If you’re ever around Capitol Hill, make sure to visit this museum. It’s very interactive and quite informative.

You can see a photo of the Postal Museum from the second floor to the left.

Later that night, C. and I met up to go to a restaurant that we’d heard about and were dying to try called Rasika. It’s a modern restaurant with an Indian flair. Although the decor of the restaurant wasn’t very impressive, the food was amazing! I had one of their special house cocktails (yum!) and had the vegetarian tasing menu, which was gluttonous, but so wonderfully worth it! C. had a great spicy potato appetizer and then chicken makhani for an entree, which he says “was awesome!” Honestly, Rasika was our favorite restaurant on the trip. If you’re in DC and haven’t yet tried this place, you must go. Or, if you don’t live in DC, you should buy a ticket ASAP, and make reservations at Rasika! 🙂

The next morning, we parted ways again and while C. was at work, I went to some roundtable sessions for my conference in the morning and then met up with a friend who lives in DC in the afternoon. We spent the afternoon shopping and having lunch in Vienna, VA, a great suburb of DC. Then, we took the metro (very easy to use, but kind of expensive, in my opinion) into DC and met C. for a drink at PS7 before dinner.

I have to admit that I had been looking forward to drinks at PS7 ever since we found out that we’d be going to DC together for a long weekend. I’d read in the Washingtonian and on Chowhound that PS7 is the best bar around with fabulously creative cocktails and great, friendly mixologists. Well, perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Eastern Standard, Drink, and Green Street in Boston and Cambridge, or perhaps the staff at PS7 were having an off night, but I was extremely disappointed.

The lounge was very crowded and VERY loud. We could barely hear each other and we were standing almost on top of each other. Then, once we got to the bar, the bartenders didn’t know how to make the drink that I requested, and their menu wasn’t very inventive at all, in my opinion. But, we were determined to make the most of it, and sat down at a table with some yummy popcorn and our drinks, prepared to forget about our first impression of the bar.

But then, the thing that really sunk PS7 for us was when C. walked up to the bar to settle our bill. The bartender forgot to give C. his card back, and then when C. asked for the card it turns out it was lost!  Then, a bossy manager came over and started demanding that C. show her his wallet to prove that the credit card was, in fact, not in there (which it wasn’t). Then, the manager went on a rampage and started throwing rugs, glasses, bill holders…anything she could get her hands on….and, literally, throwing a hissy fit!

After a few minutes, one of the bartenders miraculously found C.’s credit card and we walked away….never to return!

But, despite our disappointing experience at PS7, we did have a very nice dinner at a restaurant down the street called Zatinya. We sat at a table on the second level, overlooking the rest of the restaurant, and shared many small mediterranean plates. Our favorites were the hummus and the baba ganoush on the dips list, and then the brussel sprouts, the giant beans, and the scallops on the entree list. The food was wonderful, light, mediterannean fare, and paired with a crisp white wine from Greece, made our night really memorable.

Then, on Saturday, after a great lunch at Dogfish Ale House in Vienna, VA (we recommend the Midas Touch and the Raison d’Etre beer), we flew back home to Boston. It was a quick and busy trip to DC, but it was such a fun coincidence and a treat to be able to take a vacation together in the middle of our work weeks.


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